Speaker / Author / Teen Advocate
Michael Allen is the creator and author of “Youth Leadership Strategy.” He is a one-of-a-kind youth speaker whose messages address today’s teen issues – including bullying. He has an uncanny ability to connect with teens, to captivate their attention and facilitate an unforgettable, transformative experience. Michael’s passion for teens and life change has inspired him to develop adolescent leadership potential, as he connects with students through their language and culture. A rebellious teen living in an abusive home, Michael was kicked out on the street by his parents and forced to face and overcome some of the greatest challenges life can offer a young person. His childhood experiences and teen homeless motivated him to make his life a success. Through humor and disarming openness, Michael teaches young people simple, but powerful, principles of leadership that speak to “Generation NOW,” inspiring them to stand up for what is right, to stand against what is wrong, and to overcome the obstacles life has placed between them and the successful fulfillment of their life purpose. Anti-Bullying Talk: “Go Drink Your Chocolate Milk in the Corner!” (Approx. 45 minutes). Other talks also available. Michael is available to speak nationally.
Producer / Writer / Director / Composer / Mega-Entrepreneur
Emmy-award winning producer and mega-entrepreneur Shane DeRolf is probably best known to many for his public television series, “Big Green Rabbit” and his diversity-celebrative children’s book, “The Crayon Box That Talked.” His career in television began when he produced “Zazoo U” for Fox Kids Network in 1991. Thanks to the show’s success, Shane was asked to conceive and lead the branding effort for the young network, helping it become the #1 children’s television network in the world in two years. Shane’s zeal for social justice and education has led him to produce award-winning television programming and PSA’s for the Ad Council, including the Emmy nominated “Watts On Your Mind,” the largest national children’s communications campaign in the history of the Ad Council and the EPA. His extensive body of work has caught the attention of such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and U.S. News and World Report, which wrote that with Shane DeRolf, “a single, eccentric imagination is clearly at work.” Shane is a recipient of the Partners in Public Service Award of Excellence from the National Broadcast Association, with numerous Emmy nominations (and four wins!) under his belt.
Hannibal B. Johnson, Esq.
Keynote Speaker / Social-Justice Leader / Author
Hannibal B. Johnson is an attorney, author, and independent consultant specializing in diversity and inclusion issues. A founding director of the Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Johnson currently serves on the Oklahoma Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Johnson directed Anytown, Oklahoma, a statewide human relations camp for teens, for more than a decade and is a member of the Programs Committee for the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation. He has also served as an adjunct professor at The University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Oklahoma. A prolific author, poet and playwright, he is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the “Keeping the Dream Alive” award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Society and the 2006 Oklahoma Human Rights Award (from the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission). (The community and professional leadership credits listed above comprise only a fraction of those he has earned.) Johnson is available to provide keynote speeches and talks on numerous human-rights topics.
Author / Producer / Activist
Michael Korenblit is co-author of UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, the true story of love and survival in the Holocaust. He takes his audiences on a journey through time to Hrubieszow, a town in Poland, during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. He shares the stories of two families and the impact of the war on their lives.
Michael’s two main characters are Manya and Meyer, Mike’s parents. Although only 17, Manya and Meyer’s courage, faith, and love for each other were to sustain them though the loss of parents and siblings, constant fear and harsh conditions of hiding, separation from each other for 2 years, and numerous concentration, and death camps. Their survival was one miracle; meeting again was a second. Then there was a third.
Mike speaks to diversity assemblies. He gives seminars at university forums. He is a keynote speaker for educational conferences as well as community, civic and church organizations. Mike is often a moderator for interfaith panels, as well as a panelist.
Published Works, Creations and Awards:
Mike is a former producer of an Ace Award-winning public affairs series, as well as numerous award winning documentaries. UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN is required reading in a number of middle school, high school, and university classes, and was selected for the 1996 volume of READING GROUP CHOICES.
Mike is President and co-founder of the Respect Diversity Foundation. Prior to moving back to Oklahoma in 1992, Mike worked 19 years for the Close Up Foundation, an educational organization in Washington, D.C. He held a number of positions, including Program Instructor, where he taught students and teachers about the governmental process and domestic and foreign policy issues. He also directed Close Up’s Television and Video Department, where he produced television programs which aired on the Cable Satellite Public Affairs network.
• Interfaith Alliance Harley Venters Humanitarian Award, 2010.
• Human Rights Award. From the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance, 2012.
• Yad V’Yad Award. From the Jewish Federation of Greater OKC, 2013.
(Shared honor with Joan Korenblit)
Dr. Gloria J. Pollard
Educator / Public Speaker / Civil Rights Activist
Dr. Gloria Pollard has served (for almost four decades) as a public school teacher, higher education instructor, and career specialist for a state agency. She is currently working with the Diversity Council at a state agency to develop a community outreach plan which will build public trust in the agency’s commitment to respecting diversity. Dr. Pollard is no stranger to bullying. As a youth, she experienced numerous abuses which she did not recognize as racism and was unprepared for methods of responding to them. However, she was fortunate enough to spend her junior-high years in Dunjee School, an all-Black school, in which Mrs. Clara S. Luper was one of her teachers and mentors. Soon, inspired and led by Clara Luper, Dr. Pollard became a young participant in the Sit-In Movement of the 1950s. She eventually had the opportunity to travel to New York City to participate in the NAACP Youth Council’s presentation of “Brother President,” Mrs. Luper’s original drama depicting the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During rehearsals for the play on the bus ride to New York, she became deeply aware of the difficulties and dangers of practicing nonviolent social activism. (Such is the power of art to communicate truth!) At the same time, she embraced the nonviolent path to change, having been reared by her parents to regard violence as an unjustifiable course of action for anyone. Because of her talent as a storyteller and her vivid experiences as both a victim of childhood bullying and a student leader in the Civil Rights, Dr. Pollard is able to move and motivate children and teens to embrace respect for diversity with a spirit of tolerance for all. Her anti-bullying messages resonate with students who are bullied, their peers, and those young people with the potential and desire to stand up against bullying. Dr. Pollard is a recipient of the Oklahoma Association of Minorities in Career and Technology Education (OAMCTE) President’s Award and The Golden Torch Award for helping promote diversity in the organization’s Leadership Conferences.
Gang Interventionist / Conflict Resolution Specialist
Alvin Van grew up in a Los Angelos neighborhood inundated with gang activity and violence (some of the worst manifestations of bullying experienced and propogated by American youth). Forced to learn “the gang system” at a very early age in order to survive, Van understands the challenges many of our inner-city youth face on a daily basis, even as he sees the potential that lies within them. As a Youth Specialist/Facilitator, Van mentors youth offenders in the juvenile justice system, striving to equip them with the motivation and tools to overcome obstacles many of us would find daunting or insurmountable. Van has a rich knowledge of gang culture, poverty and other issues affecting our teens, which he shares with educators and others who want to better understand how to best serve the youth in our schools and organizations. He is also available to conduct group mentoring workshops for youth, in which social- and life- skill development are emphasized – even as youth involved with gangs are encouraged to let go of their gang allegiances. Van is a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award, Oklahoma State Bar Association, for his endeavors in court advocacy, mentoring and mediation. He is available to speak, train and consult throughout the state and considers out-of-state invitations on a case-by-case basis.
Aly Akers is a 6th generation Oklahoman and former feature twirler at Oklahoma State University! Her personal experience as a victim of bullying drives her passion to promote P.A.S.T. – Prevent And Stop Tormenting. She can honestly look these students in the eyes and know exactly how they are feeling. P.A.S.T., Inc. is a non-profit corporation she founded that includes engaging, educational programs showing the negative impact bullying has on others. Her curriculum addresses the victims, bystanders, and the bullies and offers tools to improve each situation. Aly has spoken to over 20,000 students in over 22 different schools, 5 states and 3 countries. Her story has been featured on television programs and in print helping to expand her reach. “Bullying is a major problem in schools today. It’s my job to empower others to make bullying a thing of the P.A.S.T.” Aly Akers Visit: http://www.preventandstoptormenting.org/resources.html